What is the meaning of life? What is the expectation that motivated the events which oversaw the creation, progression, and continuation of sentience in our world? Big questions often require sizeable commitment if you truly wish to address them thoroughly, and logically. Humans have lived for several hundreds of thousands of years, we have dominated our home with fierce ingenuity, and intelligence that could be considered uncanny in comparison to our rivals. Thought before instinct, and cunning over force. We conquered our planet by thinking, but at what point did thinking become so frightening?
I’ve been confronted with that revelation several times in the past few weeks. Like a recurring nightmare, there are certain places you go in thought that are followed by a panicked awakening. Death, life, they are frightening introspective exercises.
It’s been a few months since I’ve written here. Bourbon is a great passion of mine. It’s comforting, luxurious enough to provide great pride and negligible pretentiousness. It’s special because in my world it connects people, calms nerves, eases colds, and stirs the heart and mind with thoughts of days past. Reflection is important. It can serve as the cornerstone to change, or the foundation for preservation. Self reflection is the world’s finest therapist, as you come to find, we have more answers than we let ourselves believe.
A few weeks ago a friend of mine took his own life. I hadn’t seen him in far too long. Hadn’t seen his smile, or heard his laugh. We grow up, grow old, grow fat, get busy, and we often think of the next time we will see someone, but we don’t often entertain that it may not happen. I remember one of our last conversations was about this blog, I had just posted a new review of a bourbon that he really enjoyed (he was a beer lover, so I reveled in this shared taste) and I used a quote to cap the review from a book he had given me several years ago. Those things seem abstract, the juxtaposition of warm memories and fresh tragedy.
The truth is there isn’t much I’m certain of when it comes to death and life, but there are many things I’m unsure of and an ever longer list of assumptions I have. I don’t suspect my friend and I shall ever cross paths again, and that is because I don’t hold with much confidence that there is a path to be walked after we leave this place. So for me death has less reverence than some give it. Conversely, life is exceedingly precious, and it is not to be celebrated for the choices you make based on a book, or the teachings of man. Life is a celebration of existing, interacting, changing, loving, laughing, and crying. Life is the celebration, not the hallway to the party. So I will celebrate my friends life with the living of mine, with many glasses of bourbon raised, love given freely as he gave it, with eyes to the stars, and a heart warm with memories of days past. One day, days past are all we will have, and if you’re lucky, that will be enough.
Jefferson’s Presidential Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
18 Years Old
94 Proof (47% abv)
Absolute highlight of the bourbon- rich, robust, and spicy sweet. There is layer after layer of decadence: maple syrup, rich butterscotch candy, brown sugar, crushed strawberry, ripe red fruit, bananas foster, buttery pastry dough, pecan pie, cinnamon toast, baked red apple, and honeyed hay.
Creamy, rich cinnamon butter, cooked apples, caramel popcorn syrup, berry preserves. Medium wood spice slides in at mid sip with clove, nutmeg, and a wash of of spiced honey, and orange marmalade. Middle palate is spice heavy, and crisp but carries the heavenly front flavors over to chew on, slight tannins, barrel char only obvious on inspection, moving into dusty oak, and toasted pencil shavings.
Light but distinct flavors- pencil wood, brief and cloying citrus peel, dry but lingering wet oak, peppery and rich, trailing off like a walk down a wooded path. Minty and nasal, banana, cinnamon spice and honey chew out.
Most of you interested enough to read a blog about bourbon don’t need the pedigree lesson on JPS18. This is one of the last Stitzel-Weller bourbons and an absolute gem that the world will never see again. It is a fitting toast to the life of a special man, and one of the most monumental bourbons I have ever had the privilege to try.
Score: 9.5 (Fantastic)
“And when you look at the sky you know you are looking at stars which are hundreds and thousands of light-years away from you. And some of the stars don’t even exist anymore because their light has taken so long to get to us that they are already dead, or they have exploded and collapsed into red dwarfs. And that makes you seem very small, and if you have difficult things in you life it is nice to think that they are what is called negligible, which means they are so small you don’t have to take them into account when you are calculating something.”
― Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Until next time, you have the bridge.